Porsche Carrera Cup GB regulars took on the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup grid last weekend at Silverstone, joined by a special guest appearance from six-time Olympic champion Sir Chris Hoy in the Porsche VIP Car.
Dan Harper, George Gamble, and Seb Perez were originally announced as guest drivers under the JTR banner, with Josh Webster and John Ferguson securing late deals to join the grid in the days leading up to race weekend.
The regulations for the Supercup meant a switch to unsilenced exhaust systems on their cars, other than this and a change to tyre camber, the cars were identical to the specification that they usually run in the Carrera Cup GB series.
As guest drivers, the Carrera Cup GB competitors had to make do with one set of tyres during Friday practice while the regular teams were able to run a set of scrubbed tyres. This meant that practice was limited for the GB drivers as they managed the tyre wear.
Dan Harper – JTR
Practice: Tenth | Qualifying: Eleventh | Race: Eighth (Second in Rookie class)
2018/19 Porsche GB Junior Dan Harper was the stand out star of the British drivers last weekend at Silverstone, despite sitting out half of the practice session on Friday, he still managed to post the tenth fastest time.
Qualifying proved frustrating as the thirty-two car field hustled for track position, Harper qualified in eleventh place, although deep down he knew it could have been better if the track had have been clear for his fastest runs, despite this, the eighteen-year-old had ruffled the feathers of the Supercup regulars in the super-close session that saw the top eighteen position covered by less than a second.
Starting from eleventh on the grid, Harper made up a position on the opening lap due to the misfortune of Kantadhee Kusiri who dropped down the order due to a spin.
Harper would survive contact with former rival Tio Ellinas in the opening laps of the race, despite a heavy impact to the side of the JTR Porsche.
Throughout the race Harper was in a constant battle with regulars Jaap van Lagen, Joey Mawson, Al Faisal Al Zubair, Michael Ammermüller, and Ellinas.
The JTR pilot held his own throughout the race, showing no signs of intimidation from his the experienced competitors, perhaps firing a warning shot for next season where the current Carrera Cup GB championship leader is likely to end up.
Harper finished the race in eighth place, securing second place in the rookie class, with first place going to overall race winner Ayhancan Güven.
A solid performance from the young driver showed his natural pace, with the Carrera Cup GB series visiting Silverstone later this year to race alongside the FIA World Endurance Championship weekend, it will be advantage Harper.
George Gamble – JTR
Practice: Sixteenth | Qualifying: Fourteenth | Race: Thirteenth (Fourth in Rookie class)
2018 Porsche Carrera Cup GB Rookie champion George Gamble’s debut on the international stage was a solid performance.
Starting the weekend off in the middle of the thirty-two car field in sixteenth place showed promise, during qualifying Gamble improved to set the fourteenth fastest time, just one place behind Dan Harper, Josh Webster, and Tio Ellinas, 0.753 seconds off of Güven’s pole position time.
On the opening lap Gamble was another benefactor of the spinning Kusiri, moving up a position in the opening corner, by the end of the second lap the Amigos-backed driver had found a way around Ellinas for twelfth place.
As the field came around to complete their sixth lap Gamble had Ellinas chasing hard, the Cypriot misjudged a move heading in to Club, nudging the back of Gamble’s car. On the exit of the corner on to the start and finish straight the two pushed hard in a drag race, Ellinas found a way around him, and on the next lap Dylan Pereira also overtook the Brit.
In the final corner Gamble gained a place as Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer attempted to pass Dylan Periera, the young Frenchman misjudged the move, ending up bouncing over the curbs, allowing Gamble and Marius Nakken through.
Post-race Ellinas was deemed to have gained an advantage as he drove on to the runoff area and later given a three-second penalty, promoting Gamble to thirteenth place on his first international outing.
Josh Webster – Team Project 1 – FACH
Practice: Ninth | Qualifying: Twelfth | Race: Eighteenth
The most experienced of the Brits on the Supercup grid, Josh Webster’s deal came together in the run up to the race weekend, filling a vacant seat at the Team Project 1 – FACH team.
Having competed at Silverstone in the British Grand Prix supporting race five times before (including two full seasons in the series), Webster got straight to work on the Friday practice, posting the ninth fastest time in the session, making him top of the British drivers.
A super-competitive qualifying which saw any mistakes punished with it being so tight at the top of the timesheets left him in twelfth place for the start of the race.
Unfortunately race day wasn’t so kind to Webster, in the opening lap he dropped down to seventeenth place as he avoided the chaos that saw Kantadhee Kusiri spin off of the track.
A lap later and Gianmarco Quaresmini overtook the Brit, pushing him down to eighteenth, where despite battling hard, he couldn’t make up any further positions, leaving him languishing down the order after showing early promise.
Seb Perez – JTR
Practice: Twenty-second | Qualifying: Twenty-second | Race: Nineteenth (Seventh in Rookie class)
2018 Porsche Carrera Cup Pro-Am champion Seb Perez continues his learning curve in his first season as a Pro Porsche racer.
Friday practice saw the nineteen-year-old set the fastest time of twenty-second, matching the performance in qualifying in the thirty-two car field, despite only being 1.651 seconds off of the pace of pole position.
Perez was also a victim of not being able to put together a clear lap on the crowded circuit, missing out on what could have been a higher starting place.
On the opening lap Perez made up three positions, before settling behind Carrera Cup GB rival Webster; Now part of a ten-car train it was near impossible to make any further progress through the race, having to defend against the rapid Pro-Am Supercup champion Roar Lindland whilst trying to chase down Webster.
At the end of the race he crossed the finish line just seven seconds off of the top ten, he also recorded the fastest speed across the finish line during the race at 114.3mph, just ahead of team-mate Gamble at 113.9mph.
While the end result of the weekend may have been disappointing, Perez will have gained valuable knowledge of the Grand Prix layout, this will be very useful in August when the Carrera Cup GB series visits Silverstone, supporting the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Chris Hoy – Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG
Practice: Twenty-seventh | Qualifying: Twenty-sixth | Race: Twenty-Eighth
Prior to the British Grand Prix weekend, six-time Olympic champion Sir Chris hoy completed 105 laps in the Porsche VIP car at the two-day test session at Silverstone at the end of May.
Hoy’s fastest time of the test saw him finish with a fastest lap of 2:07.774; two months later in the opening practice of the weekend he had improved on that time by nearly half of a second, a trend that would continue throughout the weekend as he settled in to the car.
Working closely with the engineers and applying his winning mentality saw a two-second improvement for qualifying as he ended the session in twenty-sixth, with a time of 2:05.036.
The final race result didn’t reflect the efforts of the olympian, who at times was running as high as twenty-third, battling for position with Supercup regulars, holding his own.
Unfortunately a missed braking point on the last lap saw him drop down the order to end the race in twenty-eighth. Despite the result Hoy was upbeat with his performance, admitting that he thoroughly enjoyed the race and achieved his goal of not being last on the grid.
John Ferguson – MRS-Cup Racing
Practice: Thirtieth | Qualifying: Twenty-ninth | Race: Thirtieth
Porsche Carrera Cup GB Am-class racer John Ferguson’s deal to race at Silverstone last weekend came together so late that he hadn’t applied for his international race licence; A mad dash last week to jump through the hoops of medicals and getting everything signed off all came together, meaning that Ferguson could join the MRS-Cup Racing team for the one-off opportunity.
With no prior experience of the current Silverstone Grand Prix layout or the MRS-Cup Racing team, Ferguson set about acclimatising himself on the Friday practice, and despite a spin finished the session in thirtieth place.
Qualifying saw Ferguson improve to take twenty-ninth place, making up nearly two-second on his practice pace.
On the opening lap of the race he made up three positions, unfortunately this would be short lived as two laps later he would drop to thirty-first. Lap five would see him pass Kenji Kobayashi for thirtieth place where he would stay until the end of the race.
Much like Perez, despite the results not reflecting a strong performance, the track time and circuit knowledge gained over the weekend will aid the Am-class racer when the Carrera Cup GB series returns to the Grand Prix layout in August.
The 2019 Porsche Carrera Cup GB returns to action following the summer break on 3/4 August as the series heads back to Thruxton for the first time since 2014.